Monday, June 10, 2013

The great grocery experiment....

Probably like a lot of mom's, I do most of if not all the grocery shopping..there are times John comes with me but I never bring my kids. Brining my kids works me into a lather. I'm usually flustered to the point I can't remember anything and the backs of my ankles are almost always bruised from being rammed into with the cart..and, I spend twice as much if they are with me.

Just after the new year I decided to take a break from my job and cut down my hours..this would be the first time in years I didn't have a regular income coming into the house to help. I knew it would be hard, I'd have to get creative and cut some corners..a small price to pay for my sanity.

But it seems like every week I hear the same thing.."there's nothing to eat"..."wheres all the food".."I don't like that"...I've tried all sorts of things like letting them each pick a night and I make the meal of their choice... letting them give me a list of things they would like....I try to spend around $150 weekly and that usually doesn't include many meats, I buy those at a butcher. I am getting sick and tired of my fridge and cabinets going from packed to bare in 3 days..

John and I have brain stormed a million times about how to get through to them...I want them to realize I could be making them fill up water bottles from the tap..instead of buying their fancy school drinks..that shits not cheap, and when you have two kids with friends and they are sucking them down that gets expensive!!...Still, they look at me like I'm just this nagging mother who will bitch and then just continue to go and buy the stuff they want anyway..and you know what....I do.

I bitch..they ignore me..I go do it all over agin the very next week...OMG I have spoiled bratty kids!!

The girls are now 15 & 11..they are to young for real jobs (most places here you have to be 16 or older) so they really don't have a clue how long it takes to make $150. They don't realize how hard we work to make that money.

When I asked them if they thought $150 was a lot of money they both thought it was...So where's all the food you buy with it??? I wanted them to see exactly how much things cost and what it was like to follow a budget...I announced that they would do the grocery shopping!!

They both looked at me like "yeah right" I'm pretty sure they thought this was just another bitchy moment and it would pass..I have to admit I don't always follow through and bringing them to do the shopping was already sounding like a disaster...I told them to come up with a menu, figure out what they would need and write a list..

Today is Monday..my grocery day..I told myself if I wanted them to learn..I HAD to do this...The teen weaseled her way out of it, she had to study for finals..I cannot say no to studying..and taking just one would be a little easier..so it was Morgan and I...When I picked her up from school, she was thrilled about going..she had her menu planned and knew what she might need..

We get into the grocery store and the kid is clueless...I decided I just couldn't let her run wild and buy anything she wanted..I gave her the $150 budget and reminded her that we have to buy for everyone in the house, not just her. We also needed toilet paper, sandwich bags and a big bag of cat food..that all had to be included in the budget..she assured me $150 was a TON and she could get everything we needed...ok this was going to be good.

She had her list..her calculator and we were good to go....by isle 3, I saw the total creeping up and reminded her we still had whole store to go and we hadn't gotten anything for her recipes..She had decided on corn chowder...chicken pot pie..and meat cakes (mini meat loaf) She was surprised to see what her usual snacks cost and quickly realized that the Store brand 2/$3.00 was the best deal...if she couldn't get the deal, she didn't buy it...she was careful to choose things everyone liked and she chose things that were even amounts so she and Sarah could split it evenly...

I wasn't sure if this was good or bad..I thought for sure she would get to the snack isle and that would be it...she was passing by things she loved..I was actually TRYING to get her to buy junk..."what a rip off" she was saying..."I won't have enough money to buy things for dinner"...                                          

What the fuck was happening!!!

The kid who can't walk and chew gum and obviously couldn't push the cart and use the calculator was telling ME that the bigger pack of hamburg for her meat cakes was a better buy and I could use the left over for something else...

There was still one snack isle and we hadn't hit the produce yet, which is her favorite...I was almost becoming determined to prove her wrong..I wanted her to have to put something back..make a big decision ..chips or carrots..and when we run out of food and are eating chips and cereal for dinner I could say "I told you so"....I watched her cruise through the isles carefully choosing what she wanted..

We get to the produce which was the last leg..I was not looking at the calculator..I thought for sure she was probably over the limit...she got the rest of what she needed and said she was done...we headed to the check out..past the bakery with the cookies she loves and she didn't even give them a second glance..

As I was loading the items up onto the checkout I was excited for her...I knew she had done her best to make sure she got what she thought was important and I was proud of her for that...

I watched as the girl scanned each thing and when she hit total I was in shock..$152.88!! I told her I was pleased and asked her if she was too..."yes, this was fun and next time I'm clipping coupons!!"


I don't know if will have bare cabinets by Thursday...I don't know if we will be eating captain crunch for dinner one night...but what I do know is, my kid was capable of pulling this off...When they are complaining and eating an complaining and eating they are just being kids...I realized today they are listening deep down inside...Today wasn't just a lesson for Morgan..it taught me something too...even when you think your doing a bad job and your at your wits end with your kids...they are watching and listening to you..Today Morgan taught me I'm not doing such a bad job after all.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Life isn't always fair...

I tell my kids all the time work hard and you will be rewarded...work hard in school...work hard in life...if they don't get a good grade or score a goal in sports...I tell them to work harder at it.

I know all kids are different and all kids have different capabilities...like kids, rewards come in all shapes and sizes and any school or any coach or team should be able to recognize someone working hard..sometimes a reward can just be a pat on the back.

Morgan sees the kids in the student council or maybe it's the honor society or the after school extra curricular clubs and she envies them...They are always talked about by the teachers and they are always accomplishing great things...she doesn't gets chosen for these things in school and thats ok...I tell her she can find something is good at, work hard and be amazing!

If you have been following this page you know Morgan is a creative kid, she was knitting hats and we had a pile we didn't know what to do with. She, wanted to make a million dollars...but her school was having a fundraiser for a new water fountain and it got canceled..so she asked if we could try to sell the hats and give the money to her school.

I have to be honest I was nervous, it's not like she is a professional hat maker..who knows if they would sell..maybe they would fall apart..but some pretty awesome people helped her and all her hats sold.

I contacted the lady running the fundraiser and told her what Morgan had done to raise some money she sent back an email saying thank you... I also sent the same email to the principal and got nothing back..nothing.

Morgan worked hard and donated $70.00  to her school..she was SO PROUD and didn't even get a thank you from her principal...I wrote the check out to the student council and she couldn't wait to hand it in and nobody said anything...they have morning meetings on Monday with the middle schoolers where they discuss the week and give shout outs to the kids that have done something good...she thought FOR SURE it would be mentioned, this would be her time to shine..

I waited all day to hear what was said...I picked her up and the look of disappointment said it all...nobody said a word..her hard work was not recognized like I told her it would be... I tried to tell her it was reward enough that she felt good giving the money and now they ARE going to get the water fountain because of her..

I didn't realize how important being recognized was for her...something that seems so small, might mean the world to someone...she didn't want any prize...she just wanted to feel special...take the time to recognize a kid or co-worker..let them know they are doing a good job or that you appreciate them...It's important...